# algebra

### Introduction

**algebra,**branch of mathematics concerned with operations on sets of numbers or other elements that are often represented by symbols. Algebra is a generalization of arithmetic and gains much of its power from dealing symbolically with elements and operations (such as addition and multiplication) and relationships (such as equality) connecting the elements. Thus,

*a*+

*a*=2

*a*and

*a*+

*b*=

*b*+

*a*no matter what numbers

*a*and

*b*represent.

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*The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia,* 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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